Thursday, November 4, 2010

No No NaNo

It’s lonely being a NaNo abstainer.

Don’t get me wrong – NaNo is a great community builder for the thousands of writers working, alone but together, to fast-draft their way past mental barriers and excuses. But what about the rest of us? We feel left out and behind as online communities and critique groups shut down, as every other novelist in the world is writing more, faster, and better than we are.

I’m not a fast writer. At least I wasn’t until the end of my most current WIP, when I started writing a break-neck speed, barely pausing for dialogue tags and those pesky adverbs I’ll have to edit out later (so maybe there is an upside). But I got finished, and now I have a pile of manuscript pages, demanding to be whipped into some semblance of readability.

But that means NaNo isn’t for me this year. I’d propose a National Novel Revising Month for those, like me, who need to fix what’s already written. But that leaves out writers who need to complete their WIPs, not begin new ones.

So for my fellow NaNo conscientious objectors, let’s make this National Novel Revising, Completion, and Progress Month. Otherwise known as November. My personal is goal to get a draft out to betas by the end of the month.

Who’s in? What are your goals for November?


  1. No Nano for me either. I just knew it wasn't realistic for me at this crazy time. But I will finish my latest manuscript this month. I have about a little more than a chapter to go!
    Good luck with your revisions!

  2. I'm revising also right now, and it's intense just because I set a certain goal date, but it's not December 1.

    Laurel Garver at Laurel's Leaves is hosting my favorite "NaNo" inspired event right now. NaBalWriMo. National Balance Writing Month. That for me is harder than churning out 2,000 words a day!

  3. No Nano for me either. I have to revise a finished novel and outline another. Although I like the premise of Nano, it's just not for me even though I do write fast.

  4. Good luck to Kelly for finishing!

    Karen, I like the idea of NaBalWriMo. Writers with books to finish REALLY get left out, since there work doesn't "count" towards NaNo.

    NaNo can be such a taskmaster. I saw a writer beating herself up about only writing 850 words yesterday. It's a warped perspective.

  5. *joins the No NaNo party*

    Really wish I could sit at the cool kids' table with everyone this month, though :D Won't be revising, either--just brainstorming my newest WIP.

    Great post, Kelly!

  6. while i admire the dedication that goes into committing to producing eleventy-billion words in a single month, i can't help wonder what is lost in quality during the quest for quantity.

    i've never done nanomowriwtfmojo and i can't see myself ever deciding to do so. it just isn't my style.

    -- Tom

  7. Tom - That brings up something I saw on a couple of agents twitters and blogs on 11/01 (no names mentioned) but they loathe nano due to the amount of unedited MS they get in Dec.

    Now I'm saying it a lot nicer than they put on their twitters (I was kind blown away by their word choice), but I hope the ones who do nano know to spend another couple of months editing afterwards

  8. I have a couple writer friends who have sold novels that began as NaNo entries. But there was a LOT more work once the month finished.

    Others end up taking good ideas and sort of trunking them, because the revision process is daunting, and I wonder if it's HARDER than for other novels because there is less rewriting, fixing, or correcting as the story races forward.

  9. Great post, Kelly! Nano is helping me b/c I'd hit a lull in my writing and needed a little outside pressure to get words flowing again.

    But I totally agree with y'all that serious editing needs to take place on any novel, especially a fast-written novel, before querying and submitting.

    Absolutely! But I love Nano for helping people focus on writing. There's nothing worse than having a dream that you're too scared/busy/discouraged to chase. For the thousands of people who have always wanted to write a book, it's one more push in the right direction. They may even discover that writing novels is not for them. But at least they have a reason to try.

    Have fun revising, finishing, and writing, everybody!

  10. I'm in. I'm trying to finish the rough draft of my WIP and start revising. I am a sloooow writer and Nano might never be for me.

  11. I'm down with that, and am currently working on my WiP as we speak. I'm under nano with the name Cujo5, so you can friend me there, and I'm using the word county thingamajig to keep track of my progress. I feel that its sort of fitting as I wrote the first draft of my current project during NaNo last year.

  12. I totally agree with this. How does it seem that in November some of us are bogged down with rewrites, edits and more revising. I have to pass on NaNo and feel a little closure getting things done without stress.

  13. I started NaNo, but I knew going in that I was crazy to even take that on, because I really should be editing my last novel. I'll see how far I get before my trickle of words, or good sense force me to stop.

  14. Joy, I was tempted to do NaNo for the first time because I was in writing mode after finishing the first draft of my last WIP, and I thought maybe I should take advantage. But ending up with TWO novels in need of revision? Yikes! That would be overwhelming for me instead of fun.

  15. You're not the only one. I've come into contact with plenty of people revising this month.

    All the best!

  16. I'm working hard on my short story technique rather than nano-ing, but I don't regret not signing up. I'd hate the pressure. I also have a half-finished WIP, but we won't talk about that. LOL! :O)

  17. I'm not NaNoing either. I've got revisions to work on too, and can't take the time to do another novel right now. It is a little lonely...but no one in my crit group is doing NaNo, so it's not too bad. :)

  18. Hello. I just came over here for the first time from another blog because I saw this post's title and thought: 'Ooooh, people like meeeee! So I'm ploughing on with my WIP (and secretly starting on the sequel when I feel I just want to stop sweating blood and run wild and free!)
    Happy revisions everyone!!

  19. I'll add myself to the token rebels (relatively) and say that I'm still doing NaNo. It's my second time around the track, and for the most part, I'm managing. I think I went through the same "what in the world am I doing." stage last year, too, though I don't think it was quite so early. (read: 1 minute into November 1st)

    I was close to throwing it in, since I also started to feel the urge to jump back into the next draft of my last piece. Fortunately (or not, depending on your perspective) I'd since convinced too many people to do it, or take on the huge crushing responsibilities of ML-dom.

    For me, the social side to it has also been a huge draw, since I'm not really in any writing communities or groups, online or otherwise. It feels like that will change, also as a by-product of November madness. Looking forward to editing, but in the meantime, am reading this book that's flowing out of my pen.

  20. I'm NaNoing, so I'm looking for 50K words which should be done tomorrow.

    From there I'll be working on revisions. Go revisions, go revisions... go, go, go revisions.

  21. No NaNo for me. I edit the previous sections in preparation for writing a new section - sometimes combing through those paragraphs 4 and 5 times before leaving them. I believe my writing would suffer from the pressure of cranking out 50k in 30 days.

    However, I have been known to crank out 10k in 2 days, so perhaps I'll try NaNo in the future. Just not this year.

  22. I'm not doing nano either. I'm still shaping my story but will start writing soon. I know it won't be good if I try and spill 50k in a month.

  23. Norma Johnson-MacGregorNovember 5, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    Oddly enough I find myself in the same boat. I've never participated in NaNo before and briefly thought of doing so this year but I need to revise a WIP.

    I like your idea of revising for those of us who don't need to first draft-hell revision is just as important as first drafting!

    So I accept your challenge! I will try to have my WIP completely revised by the end of November.

    Game on!

  24. i'm an abstainer too. but i am participating in NaNOMG, which is my way of feeling completely overwhelmed before i get down to business :D


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